In a rare admission of error, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly acknowledged Thursday that the Chicago Police Department was "slow to react" to the breakdown of street gangs that led to a spike in homicide rates.
Emanuel made the admission during an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks at the Brookings Institution during a live event.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Brooks asked Emanuel about what it was like to be in the middle of the national debate on violence as Chicago's "murder spike" took the spotlight.
Emanuel reportedly replied that, while Chicago Police continue to make progress, he didn't think "we were totally where we needed to be."
“We made some changes in the police department. I don’t think we were totally where we needed to be. . . . We had arrested the gang leadership (in) part of my tenure correctly. . . . So there was no leadership in these gangs. And they had broken down and dissolved and there was internecine gang warfare,” the mayor said.
“So it wasn’t two gangs fighting each other. It was two groups inside of these gangs fighting each other for turf with leadership that was much younger than 30. They have a different perspective. And we as a police department and as a city, [were] slow to react to that.”
Chicago Police Supt. continues to tout declining murder rates in the city, crediting new measures taken by police.
The Chicago Police Department said 2013 ended with the fewest murders in Chicago since 1965 and the lowest murder rate since 1966. The 415 killings that the department handled in 2013 was down 18 percent from the 503 murders that the department reported in 2012.
Among the latest measures to combat gang violence in Chicago is a program designed to reduce crime by knocking on the doors of individuals deemed likely to commit crimes, particularly people with with known gang affiliations.
The expanded program is already in use in the Wentworth, Grand Crossing, Gresham and Ogden police districts.
Police say the results thus far are preliminary, but encouraging, with none of the contacted individuals being arrested for a violent felony.